L.A. Assemblyman, John Perez, Elected to be House's Speaker
When Speaker-Elect John Perez is officially confirmed as the Assembly's Speaker in coming month, he will be the first openly gay man to take the role. The freshman Assemblymember represents a portion of Los Angeles and is Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's cousin. Interestingly enough, the last time the speakership had contested in a floor vote was in 1998 when Villaraigosa was elected to become speaker (harbinger for Perez?), notes the LA Times.
The vote went party line: 48 Democrat votes for Perez and 26 Republican votes for Assembly minority leader Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo.
Although the Assembly is considered the lower house, the role of Speaker is "considered by many to be second only to the governor in power and prestige in California government," explained to the SacBee when current Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, also of Los Angeles, was confirmed in 2008.